Looking cool. Sadly badly performing, misused, distracting, and/or blinding to other drivers vehicle lighting seems to be a fashion statement in the USA.
Oblivious. Many drivers are simply clueless as to how to operate their vehicle. Those glaring red rear fog lamps on while driving on a clear night? Could be someone looking cool or could just be someone who has no clue how to operate their vehicle. High beams much the same. They don’t even know they are blinding/glaring to other drivers.
Stupid. “Gee, they are brighter, they must be better”. These people don’t understand that shoving snake oil over wattage bulbs in their head lamps or running high beams isn’t just allowing them to see better, but they see better at everyone else’s expense if they actually see better at all.
Self Centered. Like “Stupid” above, but they know it’s at the expense of others and don’t care.
Cheap. Some times at my encouragement a driver running high beams will turn them off. This is where I notice one or both of their low beam headlamps are not functioning. While any self respecting car guy would stop at the next auto parts store, *mart, or anywhere else that caries head lamp bulbs and fix the situation, cheap people just use what to them are or become built in spare bulbs.
Before you can say, ‘why don’t cops ticket them’, most of it may be legal and some of it stock. And like all tickets, the question is not legality but if a cop may want to hassle a particular driver or brings in the revenue for his bosses from it.
Yes, some of it can be stock. USDOT regs allow for a lot of glaring headlamps, intentionally under the theory that significant light has to go up on to overhead signs. Various other lighting is also allowed that shouldn’t be, but that’s another rant. However a cop tickets based on state law, which having generally been written in the 1930s it seems allows for even a wider range of poor performing lighting and hence all the aftermarket crap on the market.So what’s the cop to do when it turns out to be legal time after time? He just stops pulling people over for lighting issues, even when it is illegal.
Then again, with speed and an arbitrary BAC being his bosses’ (not us voters) priorities why should he bother with lighting at all? Only if it’s a teenager or some other person he wishes to harass or if he has performance objectives to meet might he even bother. These tickets don’t bring in the revenue so it’s a ‘beyond the stop’ sort of thing. This way susie soccer mom can drive obliviously with her vehicle’s high beams on without any significant worry of being pulled over. Anyone driving a non-toastermobile can probably expect a roadside conversation with an armed man if driving when cops are bored. In the end boobus won’t be bothered much so the state of affairs is unlikely to improve.
As the society decays further and becomes poorer, I expect driving with high beams on and burning out the retinas of fellow drivers only to increase. People becoming less concerned with others, more ignorant, and poorer so they will delay purchasing replacement bulbs. Front end body work won’t be repaired after damage, all sorts of kludged repairs could become more common as well.